Sunday, 11 September 2016


Mumbai: Premier Skills, the joint initiative between the Premier League and British Council, was launched in Mumbai on Monday the 5th of September in partnership with the Indian Super League and All India Football Federation. This marked the start of the new three-year Premier Skills programme in India and globally, and is taking place in Mumbai for the very first time.

Premier Skills is a proven model. Since the programme began in 2007, 7,600 coaches and referees have been trained in 29 countries, who in turn have reached 1.2 million young people. 

Building on that success, Premier Skills embarks on a new three-year global programme, starting with phase 1 in Mumbai this September, strengthening existing networks of Premier Skills coaches and rolling out training to a new generation of community football coaches across the world.  

Premier Skills has already delivered a highly successful programme in India, training 400 coaches, who in turn have reached 20,000 young people since the programme began here. 

Premier Skills in Mumbai will build on that track record. Taking place at the Father Agnel School sports centre in Vashi, the Premier Skills ‘Phase 1’ course will see 50 Indian grassroots and elite youth coaches from all eight ISL clubs and and the following NGOs – Magic Bus, Slum Soccer, Special Olympics Bharat Maharashtra, CEQUIN, Dream a Dream and Oscar Foundation participate. The coaches will receive week-long expert training from qualified Premier Skills coaches, giving them the skills and support to develop their own community football projects. 

The course in Mumbai was led  by Jeremy Weeks, Premier Skills Head Coachsupported by Robert Parrett, Development Manager at Crystal Palace Football Club and Katie Bottom, Women and Girls Development Officer at West Ham United Football Club. They were joined by three Indian Premier Skills coach educators who have come through the programme in India between 2013-16 and were at hand to assist the Premier League coaching team and pass on their experience to their fellow Indian coaches.

Mumbai also marked the beginning of a partnership between Premier Skills, All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India. The Phase 1 course was delivered in partnership with AIFF and FSDL, supporting the development of the ISL’s community programmes. The aim is to extend this partnership across the full three phase training programme under Premier Skills. 

AIFF have accredited the Premier Skills Phase 1 training as equivalent to their D Licence certification. Candidates who successfully complete the Phase 1 course will further be able to apply for an AFC C Certificate course after a period of three months of successfully completing the Phase 1 course. 

Richard Scudamore, Premier League Executive Chairman, said: 

This is an exciting new stage for Premier Skills in India, as we now build on the foundations the project has laid through our work in Kolkata and across Goa and Kerala. Our new partnership with the Indian Super League and its clubs, and several excellent sports NGOs, means new male and female coaches will be trained right across the country. And this number will multiply, as our Indian coach educators also deliver new Premier Skills programmes, resulting in an even greater number of people starting on the pathway to becoming a qualified coach.”

Smt. Nita Ambani, Chairperson, Football Sports Development Ltd., said:

“We are extremely glad to partner with Premier Skills and strengthen our existing relationship with the Premier League. It is a strong step towards further building the ISL grassroots program and will provide a huge impetus and growth opportunity to our homegrown coaches as well as the community they work with. We believe initiatives like Premier Skills and Referee Workshops with FIFA and Professional Game Match Official Limited (PGMOL) will help drive professionalism into the sport..”

Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, said:

“All India Football Federation welcome the initiative and are delighted to associate with Premier Skills. AIFF will award ‘D’ licensing certificate to all the candidates who successfully complete the Premier Skills Phase 1 certification..”

Alan Gemmell, OBE Director India, British Council, said: 

“The return of Premier Skills to India is testament to the continuing global appeal of Premier League football as well as the impact that the programme itself has had in India over the last nine years. We are looking forward to working with the Premier League and our local partners in empowering more Indian coaches to deliver life-changing impact for young people in their community through the power of football.”.


For Media Queries:

British Council:

Aditi Hindwan– 8377001450/

Notes to Editor

About Premier Skills

Premier Skills draws upon the Premier League’s global appeal and expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK, alongside the British Council’s global network, track record of delivery and world class expertise in English.

In addition to coaching, through Premier Skills English, teachers and learners of English are given free, compelling learning materials, drawing on football-based content from the most exciting football league in the world.

Premier Skills uses football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world. Through Premier Skills, young people, often including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities, to develop their skills for employability and to raise their self-esteem.

About Premier League

The Premier League is the most watched continuous annual global sporting event in the world. Last season saw record average stadium occupancy of 96.3% and around the globe the Premier League is broadcast into 900 million homes in 190 countries.

The quality of football and the interest that it generates allows the Premier League to support all areas of the sport. This season it will invest in even more community football facilities whilst delivering hundreds of projects, through professional clubs right through the Premier League and Football League, that focus on improving sports coaching and education in schools and inspiring young people to play and benefit from sport.

On top of this, the Premier League supports the wider footballing pyramid, investing in the Football League, the Football Conference and many other football bodies as well as delivering projects such as Premier Skills that aim to help develop the game around the world. For more, read here .

Coach biographies

Premier League Coach Educators:

Jeremy Alexander Weeks 

Jeremy Weeks graduated from Exeter University in 2005 with a Masters in Sport and Exercise Science.  It was during his time at Exeter he began coaching as part of the Community and Academy departments at Exeter City FC.   He also spent two summers coaching in the USA as Head Soccer Coach at Lake Owego Sports Camp in Pennsylvania. 

In 2006, Jeremy joined Fulham FC where he spent the next five seasons. He worked for the Fulham FC Foundation as a Sports Development Officer in the London area, whilst also coaching for the Academy and Girl’s Centre of Excellence.  He became Acting Sports Development Manager in 2009, managing all the football, sport and health related development projects across London and Surrey.  

Jeremy left Fulham FC in May 2011 to join the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee where he was the Paralympic Football Competition Manager.  He was involved in the Olympic Football competition at the 6 stadiums across the UK including Wembley and Old Trafford and managed the Paralympic 5 and 7 a side competitions on the Olympic Park during the Paralympic Games.  

Jeremy has been involved with the Premier Skills programme since 2009 and has since led on the development of the syllabus for Premier Skills as well as creating a programme together with the Premier League for Magic Bus, a sports development charity in India.  

He currently runs his own sports consultancy company called W10 and provides on-going support to the development of the Premier Skills programme.

Qualifications: FA Level 1, 2 and 3 Coaching Awards, FA Youth Modules 1 and the Sports Mentor Level 3 awards

Robert Lewin Perrett

Robert has been working in coaching and sports development for 17 years, 10 of which have been with professional football clubs which has given him a comprehensive understanding of the industry, in particular, being able to manage staff, partners, programmes and budgets.  He has a degree in sports studies and holds a UEFA B licence in football coaching. 

He is currently employed as Sports Development Manager with Crystal Palace FC Foundation overseeing the elite player development programme, college academies, PL girls, PL4Sport as well as all income generating courses and some inclusion programmes for over 40’s.

Throughout his career in coaching he has been fortunate enough to work with a wide variety of age groups from 3 year old beginners to walking football for over 55’s.  He has also worked across PE delivery, multi sports programmes, girls coaching, elite programmes, grass roots clubs, adult teams, disability groups and academy teams.  Some of the programmes he has coached have allowed him to work with national governing bodies from a number of sports as well as working closely with the FA, Football League & Premier League on joint initiatives.

Qualifications: UEFA B license in football coaching.

Katie Anne Bottom

Katie started coaching five years ago at West Ham Foundation on the Trainee and Mentoring Scheme, where she got various multi-sport qualifications including Level 1 football.

For the last 2 years she has been working at the Foundation in her current role which is Woman and Girls Development Officer, looking after the Woman and Girls project, she gained her Level 2 football qualification and Youth Awards.

Katie has worked in Barcelona in May 2014 for the Foundation coaching schools from London. While working for the Foundation full time she also, played football for West Ham Ladies.

Qualifications: FA Level 1 in football coaching

Premier Skills Coach Educators:

Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar

Kuntala represented India in several international tournaments including Asia Cup and was the captain of India women team in the 1981 World cup. She has been a coach for the senior national team in 1994-95 and 1998-99 and also of the Bengal and Indian Railways. Under her coaching the Indian Railway team won the national tournament in 2015. She is a coach of the former I league team United Sports Club’s u-15 team and has also been associated as coach of the Premier Skills Kolkata Goalz project. Kuntala is an AIFF D licence instructor.

Qualifications: AFC A licence, DFB Germany International B licence, she is also AFC Grassroots, FIFA Refresher and Premier Skills Coach Educator (Level 1).

Shekhar Kerkar

Shekhar represented Goa State in the Junior Nationals football tournament organised by All India Football Federation in 1997-98. He has coached various boys and girls teams. Shekhar was selected as the football coach to travel to Manchester, UK with the Goa u-15 football team in July 2008. He has also coached Sporting Club de Goa u-14 boys football team in 2014-15 and coached the Goa u-18 Women Junior National team from October 2015 to January 2016. He is an AFC ‘C” licence instructor.

Qualifications: AFC ‘A’ licence and Premier Skills Coach Educator (Level 1).

Shafeeq Hassan 

Shafeeq is a coach in Kendriya Vidyalaya and also holds part time assignment in Wayanad Football Club as Youth Development Head. He is a member of the selection committee and PR committee of Kerala Football Association. 

Qualifications: AFC ‘B’ licence, post graduate in Physical Education and graduate in Business Administration, Premier Skill Coach Educator (Level 1).

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. 

 We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

 We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.  

 For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and